Why Obama Kinda Likes the FISA Bill (But He Won't Come Out and Say It)

Slate's blog on legal issues.
June 20 2008 5:50 PM

Why Obama Kinda Likes the FISA Bill (But He Won't Come Out and Say It)

Emily Bazelon wonders, entirely correctly, why Barack Obama has been missing in action on the FISA compromise bill passed by the House today. Finally, the Obama campaign sent a lukewarm endorsement of the measure: As to the key reforms of FISA , the bill is an acceptable compromise, not perfect but the best one can do under the situation. As to the retroactive immunity for telecom companies, Obama says he will work to change that in the Senate.

What gives? Why did Obama stay silent for so long, and why did he finally offer such a muted response to the bill?

The answer is simple:

Jack M. Balkin is Knight professor of constitutional law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School.